WASHINGTON, D.C.—Georgia’s lawsuit climate ranks number 31 out of 50, a seven-place drop in three years, according to a new national survey released today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR).
According to the 2015 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States, 75 percent of company general counsels and senior attorneys said a state’s lawsuit environment is likely to impact important business decisions at their company, including where to locate or expand. That is an 18 percent increase from eight years ago, and an all-time high.
“More business leaders than ever have identified a state’s lawsuit climate as a significant factor in determining their growth and expansion plans,” said Lisa A. Rickard, president of ILR. “Georgia’s economy is doing well, but it can’t sustain that growth without addressing reforming its legal system.”
Georgia’s lawsuit climate ranked below its neighboring states of North Carolina (7) and Tennessee (23) and above South Carolina (36), Florida (44) and Alabama (46).
A decade ago, the Georgia General Assembly had a strong record of adopting civil justice reforms, but recently efforts have slowed considerably.
More recently, Georgia legislators failed to pass medical malpractice and discovery reform. They also failed to pass legislation to rein in what is known as “lawsuit lending,” a financial practice that provides “up-front” cash to individual plaintiffs to cover immediate living or medical expenses during litigation. These loans are typically attached to sky-high interest rates – as much as 200 percent – that leave borrowers with little to no recovery.
In tandem with the survey, ILR today released 101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems, listing key legal reforms that states can adopt to improve their lawsuit climates. ILR also launched a national media campaign to raise awareness about the importance of a fair and balanced lawsuit system.
Harris Poll, a global polling firm, conducted the 2015 Lawsuit Climate Survey through telephone and online interviews between March 9 and June 24, 2015. The respondents were more than 1,200 general counsels and senior attorneys or leaders in companies with annual revenues of at least $100 million.
ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.